DA argues to have attorneys for accused killer Owens removed in Quinn case

FILE -- On Tuesday, District Attorney Todd Williams argued Jason Owens' defense attorneys should be taken off the Zebb Quinn case because of a conflict of interest. (Photo credit: WLOS staff)

A Buncombe County man convicted of three murders and charged in another was back in court Tuesday.

Jason Owens pleaded guilty to killing JT and Christi Codd and their unborn child and he's charged with murder in the 18-year-old missing person case of Zebb Quinn.

Quinn was reported missing on Jan. 2, 2000. The then 18-year-old was last seen with Owens, who was named a person of interest in 2007.

On Tuesday, District Attorney Todd Williams argued Owens' defense attorneys should be taken off the case because of a conflict of interest. Williams said Owens wrote his wife, saying his attorneys made him plead guilty to the murders in the Codd case and for that they should not be his attorneys in the Quinn case.

Capital defender Vicky Jayne and well-known defense attorney Sean Devereux argued in court Tuesday that Owens wants to keep them and the letter's inference is about evidence presented in the case, not about them.

The judge said, on the basis of the letter, he sees no conflict of interest.

Attorney Joe Bowman, who was in the hearing, said that kind of letter is common after a plea.

"It's a potential conflict that exists in every case where the defendant complains their lawyer did a bad job when they're unhappy with the results," Bowman said.

Owens pleaded guilty to the Codd murders last year and is serving a 50-plus-year sentence.

The judge did not state when he would make a ruling on Tuesday's hearing, but arguments between the attorneys got very heated as each side presented its case.

Neither the DA nor the attorney's representing Owens would comment.

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